Working a Ski Season – Expectation vs Reality
A winter spent in the Alps, waking up to fresh snowy mountains each morning, living and working on these mountain and being able to call it ’home’ … these are just a few things that come to mind when thinking about working a winter season abroad.
Every year, hundreds of workers head to various ski resorts all over the world, from European countries such as France, Austria and Switzerland to Canada, Japan or New Zealand. Some see it as a way to fill the winter months of their gap year with something ‘fun’, or others see it as a cost effective way of being on the snow as much as possible. Although for many, its a chance to take the time to reflect and consider new career opportunities and of course, meet lots of new people with similar interests.
Along with all the positives and essentially making your dreams come true, as always when you experience something new, there will probably be some doubts or concerns. A ski season is known to bring uncontrollable excitement due to the thought of moving to a new country, meeting loads of friends from around the world and skiing every single day. Although whilst the factor of working a ski season may be one of the most memorable experiences of your life, there are also many harsh realities of the big move that you need to bear in mind.
So, what is the reality of working a ski season?
First things first, you need to survive the seasonaire drinking culture. Every night is a school night, yet every night is also a drinking night. Whilst winter seasons and drinking seem to go hand in hand, no matter how hard the hangover may be, you need to make it to work. The truth is, whilst there is a big drinking culture while working a season, it’s only as big as you make it. No human can go out drinking every single night for a few months and make it to work early every single morning, it’s not worth it! Break up your week and give yourself the occasional chilled night in to be ready for the next big night out. The plus side is that the nightlife is always there if you want it, but don’t forget that you can keep up with your social life without completely ruining your ski days.
Many ski lovers also discover the fear of getting injured. Of course, hurting yourself whilst skiing is inevitable, it’s a highly dangerous sport, but don’t let your mind get the better of you – not everyone gets injured, it’s just bad luck! The best advice one can provide is to take it easy at first, no matter if you skied last week or if you haven’t skied in a few years, you need to ease yourself in gently regarding the slopes and the pace of others. Unfortunately accidents do happen on the slopes, but being scared of these is not going to change anything. You need to know when to take a break rather than hurting your own body more once its tired from a full days run, enjoy your days off ski free occasionally…you are there for a few months remember! Don’t fear, stay safe, get the skis on and get going!
What if I’m bad at skiing? If you think you’re going to be bad – then you will be bad. Simple as that, you need a positive attitude! Depending on your ski season job, you will have so much time to improve skills and techniques on the slopes, and all ski instructors will be there to help. Ski lessons are highly recommended to season workers as this helps you progress faster and grasp the basics before being confident enough to go off by yourself. Even if you are a good skier but have not skied in a few years, take a lesson to regain confidence and learn the slopes, what’s stopping you?
Overall, the harsh truth about working a ski season is that it’s hard work, no matter what role you choose. Not so much mentally challenging as most of the tasks are pretty menial, but it’s the long, long hours on your feet all day. Early mornings are often followed by late nights, which of course don’t bode well for general functionality at work. It is best to look at it like you are moving there to work… with skiing as a bonus, to limit the disappointment!
The benefits of completing a ski season definitely outweigh the negatives, you might not get the chance to ski everyday for example, but you still have the chance to ski when you have free time, and we all know you can’t do that in everyday life at home! The hard work in the end is worth it even just for the views outside of your bedroom window and also outside of work …
Leave your fears at home, go out and meet friends from around the world, work hard to play hard and lets have the winter of a lifetime!
By Jessica Hughes